- Appeal panel chair smuggled to Lagos
Tension is currently brewing in the Ondo State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) over alleged plan by some section of the party leadership to tamper with the result of the primary election, which produced a former president of the Nigerian Bar Association, Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu, Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN).
Already, chairman of the Appeal Panel set up to look into the complaints that attended the exercise, Mrs. Hellen Benbager (from Benue State) was said to have been smuggled into Lagos State by some powerful forces ahead of the submission of the panel’s report, with a viewing to influencing the report that would ultimately undermine the result of the ballot.
Sources close to THISDAY hinted that signal from inside sources in Lagos told of the efforts being made to prevail on the Chairman to influence the report, including promises to get her an appointment amongst other added inducements.
“As we speak, the chairman is in Lagos, where they are promising her heaven and earth for as long as she is able to upturn the result that produced Akeredolu. They promised her money, landed property and appointment. This is desperation and the world must know. We cannot go on like this,” said a source displeased with the dimension the matter is assuming.
Continuing, the source said, “This is why the Jigawa State Governor, Abubakar Badaru, refused to let any known person in that axis work with him. He literally brought everyone who worked with him from his state and the exercise was free and fair. This is no less an attempt to embarrass the governor and it is unbecoming of anyone doing this.
“Besides, how do you explain the fact that the exercise was beamed live and by a television station believed to be owned by people, who are now crying foul. Nothing was shady in that exercise and it is unfortunate that we have to travel this mischievous road because the exercise didn’t favour a particular interest,” he said.
THISDAY further learnt that other stakeholders in the party have resolved to defend the exercise and would go to any length to make sure that the result produced by it is protected. They were said to have been able to identify a common enemy and are ready to do battle with him.
“We will not watch anyone undermine the rest of us. We all signed up for a free and just process and that process we had. But for anyone to now turn around and want to manipulate the rest of us to submission is impossible. We will fight it to the last and that is what we will do,” the source said.
The APC primary held recently in Ondo had produced Akeredolu as the winner after polling 669 votes to defeat his closest rival and the candidate believed to be the choice of the aggrieved section of the leadership, Olusegun Abraham, who scored 635 votes.
Olusola Oke polled 576, Senator Robert Borrofice, 471; Tayo Alasoadura, 206; Bode Ayorinde, 67; Jumoke Ajasin-Anifowose, 1; Tunji Abayomi, 5; Jamiu Afolabi, 44; Adefemi Mayowa, 13; Ayo Akinyelure, 3; Adekunle Adekunle, 8; Adegbonmire Adebiyi, 8; Olabimtan Victor, 18; Tunji Ariyomo, 2; and Oyewunmi Taiwo, 7.